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State Journal, other media outlets sought access to emails

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The release of more than 28,000 pages of documents Wednesday comes after media outlets, including the State Journal, sought them in court.

Kelly Rindfleisch, a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive, is arguing in the 1st District Court of Appeals that the prosecutors who secured her conviction for campaigning on taxpayer time used unconstitutionally broad subpoenas and search warrants to collect emails and documents from her home and work.

Prosecutors responded by filing thousands of pages of emails and other records under seal. Rindfleisch sought to keep those records secret.

But media groups intervened, asking Judge Patricia Curley to release the records. Curley agreed, noting that the need for secrecy was over with the closing of the secret John Doe investigation.

Curley gave Rindfleisch 30 days to remove personal information from the messages, but she declined, saying combing through the records would be too time-consuming and costly.

In addition to the State Journal, the following media and First Amendment groups intervened in Rindfleisch’s appeal: the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Associated Press, Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

The investigation has spurred a second John Doe, known as John Doe II. According to the Wall Street Journal, the new investigation targets Walker’s recall campaign and alleged illegal coordination with more than two dozen Republican and conservative political groups in 2011 and 2012.

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